3D Printing Processes

BigDataLMD project launches to improve quality of LMD processes

Working with BeAM/AddUp and Siemens AG as well as several aerospace companies

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After months of preparation, the BigDataLMD project started with a kick-off meeting at Siemens Digital Industries in Erlangen, Germany. Within the project, the Fraunhofer IAPT and Siemens AG have partnered with BeAM/AddUP S.A.S, MT Aerospace AG, Safran S.A., ArianeGroup SAS, Precitec GmbH & Co. KG and New Infrared Technologies S.L. to digitalize the quality assurance for Laser Metal Deposition (LMD).

The goal of this international partnership is to improve the process stability of the LMD process by the development of a holistic quality assurance tool for Siemens Industrial-Internet-of-Things platform (IIoT) Mind-Sphere® that utilizes new sensor technologies.

The Laser Metal Deposition (LMD) process is now used in more and more applications, especially within the aerospace, space and automobile industry. The technology presents advantages over powder-bed-based additive manufacturing (AM) technologies, such as laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) in terms of maximum part size, building on existing parts, as well as higher build rates at lower costs. However, broader industrial applications are still hindered due to issues with respect to part traceability and process stability.

BigDataLMD project launches to improve quality of LMD processes

The goal of the BigDataLMD project is to overcome some of these hurdles. Within the project, a new quality assurance tool will be developed for the Siemens IIoT platform MindSphere that will enable the collection and analysis of a multitude of quality-relevant data sets. By collecting this data, the understanding of the influences of specific parameters, such as ambient atmosphere, powder properties and process parameters, and its interdependencies, will be analyzed. This will lead to measures to work out how to improve the stability of the LMD process.

To collect all relevant information about the process, additional sensors (e.g., a CLAMIR infrared camera for meltpool monitoring and a stand-off distance sensor) will be implemented in an LMD machine from BeAM at the Fraunhofer IAPT in Hamburg.

One of the challenges of the project is the connection of the machine and sensors into the Siemens MindSphere. This shall allow a better interpretation of the large data sets that will be generated. Therefore, special attention is being paid to the development of suitable edge-gateways that pre-process the quality data in real-time and only store relevant information in the MindSphere.

The consortium led by Fraunhofer IAPT and Siemens Digital Industries selected each partner to bring specific expertise that will contribute to the project’s success. Fraunhofer IAPT has several years of expertise in LMD processes and data analysis, while Siemens Digital Industries, as a leading company for automation and digitalization, will bring in its expertise in machine controllers and machine connectivity. The companies Precitec, NIT and BeAM will equip the BeAM Modulo 400 LMD machine at the Fraunhofer IAPT with special sensor capabilities that will enhance the data collection capabilities over the current state of the art. Furthermore, MT Aerospace, Safran and Ariane will contribute to the project with their LMD expertise and help to steer the project, so that tangible benefits can be gained by industry.

The BigDataLMD project is financed by the partners and planned to finish mid of 2023. If you are interested in being updated regularly on the progress and outcomes of the project, please contact us for more information.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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